Five Buenos Aires 5 Star Hotels…

May 10, 2007 by · 22 Comments 

Four Season's La Mansion (and pool)…and how to experience them on the cheap!

Even if your cash flow doesn’t allow you a 5 star splurge while visiting Buenos Aires, it is still tempting to see what luxury, design, or boutique hotels the city has to offer.

To catch a glimpse over the other side of the fence, there is no need to have a room key. Below you will find a list of five different Buenos Aires hotels and opportunities to take advantage of what they offer, even if you aren’t staying there. This will give you a taste for the good stuff and even allow you to finish your trip under budget.

A Top Five List of Hotels in Buenos Aires

5. Caesar Park Hotel, Recoleta

A solid luxury hotel in Recoleta, with fantastic interior design, service and location (right across from the upmarket Patio Bullrich mall).

So, how to experience this hotel without paying a dime? Just walk in the lobby and do your most confident impression of a paying hotel guest. Take the elevator up to the 17th floor, and take in the wonderful view of the Rio de la Plata, seeing right the way over to Uruguay on a good day – a definite 5 star view. Exit soon after, before security come and give you the privilege of a personal escort out of the building.

4. Bo Bo Hotel, Palermo Soho

One of the most coveted boutique hotels in Palermo Soho, the sub-barrio where boutique hotels seem to be popping up every week. The design is cool, modern, fun and ever so slightly pretentious, as you would expect from a place where the name stands for bourgeois bohemian. They even have themed rooms, ranging from Pop to Techno to Art Deco. And if that isn’t enough, the staff and restaurant also both get rave reviews.

If you don’t want to shell out the cash for a room at the Bo Bo, make do with a trip to the restaurant and a quick scan around the stylish hotel interior. To experience their eclectic international cuisine shouldn’t set you back too far, and although the servings are fashionably small, they are still quite delicious, and you’ll get all of the bourgeois bohemian experience for a fraction of the price of a night in their hotel.

3. The Hotel Alvear, Recoleta

If you are a head of state, diplomat or just plain rolling in old money, this is the place to stay in Buenos Aires. Faultless old world style and service, the most desirable location on the most upscale avenue in the city (they even share the same name), and quite frankly, effortlessly the most classically beautiful hotel lobby, bar, cafe and restaurant in town.

For the rest of us, the Alvear offers an alternative – and something of an institution for in the know visitors to Buenos Aires. Well, at least those that are in to tea and cake. Indulge in an afternoon high tea at the Alvear’s beautifully appointed L’Orangerie cafe, and for a few sweet, sweet moments (accompanied by a few sweet, sweet cakes and pastries) you are a flesh-and-blood Alvear guest. Just make sure you dress the part.

Alvear Palace Hotel

2. The Faena Hotel + Universe, Puerto Madero

The most fantastical 5 star hotel in Buenos Aires, fresh from the warped mind of designer Phillipe Starck, and the straining ego of Argentine entrepreneur Alan Faena. A potent combination, heightened by your own personal ‘experience manager’, there to respond to your every whim, as you create your own mini-universe within the swish former docklands of Puerto Madero.

Though the cost may be high, fret not, for there is another way to experience this hotel. Cocktails at the Faena’s “Library Lounge” (down the corridor on the right, just after the outdoor pool), complete with film set surroundings and kitsch mounted deer heads on the walls is an excellent taste of this alternate ‘universe.’ Just make sure you check out the enchanting entrance corridor and toilets while you’re there (yes, even the toilets are out of this world at the Faena).

1. The Four Seasons ‘La Mansion’, Recoleta

This cute little mansion in the grounds of the Four Seasons hotel (see first picture at top) is so expensive that only world famous rock and pop stars like U2, the Rolling Stones and Madonna can afford to stay there. Even from the outside, its easy to see that the building certainly is a cut above most hotels – a wonderful turn of the 20th century French mansion house that looks plucked from the Loire valley.

Let’s not even mention a nightly price for this place, and go straight to the alternative 5 star option. Sunday brunch downstairs at the Four Season’s La Mansion is a great chance to take in the full mansion house experience, while gorging yourself on the best breakfast in BA. The brunch isn’t cheap, but you’ll feel like a rock star throughout, and for a good while afterwards.

Locations of these 5 Star Hotels in Buenos Aires:

Caesar Park Hotel
Posadas 1232, corner Libertad, Recoleta
Tel: 4819 1100

Bo Bo Hotel
Guatemala 4882, near Thames, Palermo Soho
Tel: 4774 0505

Alvear Palace Hotel
Avenida Alvear 1891, corner Ayacucho, Recolta
Tel: 4808 2100

Faena Hotel + Universe
Martha Salotti 445, near Juana Manso, Puerto Madero
Tel: 4010 9000

The Four Seasons Hotel
Posadas 1086/88, near Cerrito, Recoleta
Tel: 4321-1200

Buenos Aires Short Term Rentals

May 4, 2007 by · 6 Comments 

Renting a Tourist Apartment in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires Short Term Apartment Rentals

When planning your trip to Buenos Aires and thinking about your accommodation options, a short term apartment rental could be the way to go.

Why? Well, if your choices are to pay top dollar per night at a luxury or design hotel, or the same price or less per week for a luxury apartment rental in Buenos Aires, with the same high levels of quality, comfort and design, suddenly the apartment option appears to be the most sensible.

Yes, hotels have much higher levels of service and convenience than apartment rentals cannot offer, but if that is not the most important factor for you when choosing accommodation, then a short-term apartment rental wins hands down on value.

AirBnB – a good starting point for Buenos Aires Apartment Rentals

You’ve probably all heard of AirBnB before, and in Buenos Aires it has now also become a great option for renting an apartment short-term, with the peace of mind and ease of reservation that renting through AirBnB gives you. Here is a link to the AirBnB page for Buenos Aires rentals.

Also, in our opinion, one of the best apartment options for 1 or 2 people in the desirable neighborhood of Palermo Soho (probably the most popular area to stay in the city, and with good reason), is this place owned by some friends of BuenosTours, Maya & Tom. It has the best interior decoration and use of space of any studio apartment that I’ve seen in Buenos Aires, a killer location, and the owners plus apartment manager are very pro-active and helpful. Highly recommended.

AirBnB Bonus – Free Money!

If you are new to AirBnB and sign-up for an account with them using this link – you’ll get US$25 credit to use against an AirBnB reservation.

Enjoy!

Other Buenos Aires Apartment Rental Companies

From personal experience, one of the most reliable apartment rental companies in Buenos Aires, with the biggest and most varied selection of apartments on offer (from cheap to expensive) is ByT Argentina.

For additional resources, you could also check the Craigslist Buenos Aires Vacation Rentals page, plus the following list of apartment rental companies:

Best of luck in your apartment search!

Four Seasons Buenos Aires Hotel

October 11, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

Upscale Neighborhood Location on the edge of Recoleta

The Mansion and Pool at the back of the Four Seasons

The Four Seasons is equidistant between the heart of Recoleta and the Microcentro, and so it is within walking distance of many major attractions (i.e. Recoleta Cemetery, Teatro Colon, The Obelisk, Avenida Alvear, Florida Street, Puerto Madero, Plaza San Martin). Obviously it is also perfectly placed for a very short and cheap taxi trip to any of these places.

The Four Seasons is found close to the end of busy Avenida 9 de Julio, but at that point the noise is not as noticeable. In fact quite the opposite – it is a peaceful, nice area to stay in, where you wouldn’t realize how close to the center you actually are. Add to the mix the fact that some of the best (high-end) shopping and restaurants are in this area, and you have one of the best hotel locations in Buenos Aires.

Four Seasons Hotel Rooms

As you would expect in this price range, the rooms are very large, of course very clean & well turned out, tastefully decorated and perfectly furnished, but nothing over the top in extravagance.

The bathrooms are also lush, with nice features like high quality bathrobes, luxurious towels and lovely fluffy slippers. Also the shower and bath are oversized with marble everywhere, the shower being especially nice after a long day’s sightseeing, as it has a huge showerhead with an amazing rate of water flow & pressure. The beds are superb, with a down comforter. Very impressive.

Typical US$300 at the Four Seasons

Hotel Service

Also for the price, you would expect the staff to keep you well looked after. And they go beyond that, especially the attentive and knowledgeable concierge desk. Make the most of them – ask them to organize, among other things, restaurant reservations for you – you will also get much better service at the restaurants by doing so, due to the power of the Four Seasons name in Buenos Aires!

Most that stay in the Four Seasons say the main factor that sets it apart from other hotels in this upper price range is their outstanding service. Nice to know they are working hard for your money! Extensive personal attention is given to every guest, and you will often be referred to by name by staff you have never seen before. They are on the whole genuinely kind without being over the top or intrusive.

Nice extras like fresh fruit every day are a bonus. And, if anything does go wrong, they will fix it in a flash and usually provide something complimentary for your trouble.

Four Seasons Features

  • Attractive outdoor pool to the rear of the hotel.
  • Seven suite turn-of-the-20th-century chateau with 24 hour butler service, where rock stars like U2 and the Rolling Stones stay (complete with crazy fans camping outside day and night) when they are in town. However, it comes at a huge cost. If it’s a little out of your budget, you can still appreciate the amazing architecture inside the mansion by taking Sunday brunch there.
  • Gorgeous gym and impressive spa.
  • Business center to check email etc, free use, with complimentary drinks.
  • Cellular phone for local use.
  • The hotel restaurant is called Le Mistral, and is a quality, opulent establishment.
Staircase inside the Four Seasons Buenos Aires

For another Four Seasons tip, check out this post on five 5 Star Hotels in Buenos Aires, and how to enjoy them on a budget.

Four Seasons Hotel Location

Posadas 1086between Cerrito & Libertad, Recoleta

Tel: 4321 1200, Website: http://www.fourseasons.com/buenosaires/

Buenos Aires Long-Term Apartments

September 12, 2006 by · 11 Comments 

The Difficult Game of finding a long-term apartment in Buenos Aires

Corner apartment rental in Buenos Aires[Article updated Sat July 18th 2009]

Renting an apartment long-term (i.e. for more than 3 months) can be a difficult game for foreigners (extranjeros) in Buenos Aires. Firstly, the more reasonable apartment prices that locals pay are usually not easily available for extranjeros (which is why the more expensive furnished “vacation” apartments do such a good trade), as strictly you need a guarantor (garantia) to be able to rent.

The garantia is someone who owns property in Buenos Aires that can sign for you to guarantee the contract, to safeguard against your running away or trashing the apartment, etc. In addition, by going through this local process you are almost always expected to sign a rental agreement for 2 years, although there have been cases where, even if a contract is signed for the full period, this clause will not always be strictly enforced if you decide to move on early (say, after a year). Although you probably shouldn’t rely on it being possible.

But fret not! It turns out that a garantia is not always required, and 2 year contacts are not always the order of the day. You can often speak to the owner (dueño) and try to reach an agreement, which may involve any, or a mixture of, the following to bring them around:

  • Stumping up a sizable deposit (but please make sure it is returnable!)
  • Paying a lot of the rent up front
  • Offering a little over the asked monthly rental rate

A lot of owners (and almost all rental agencies) still won’t play ball, but it is worth trying until you strike gold. Be persistent and don’t get downhearted, and in the end you’ll find an apartment owner who is willing to work with you.

The Number 1 Buenos Aires Apartment Search Resource: Clarín

If you speak passable Spanish (or failing that, find a local/translator to help you out), almost certainly the best place to look for apartment rentals is the Clarín newspaper website (or buy the newspaper on a Saturday). Here you will find the best bargains, at the prices that locals pay:

Then search for the type of housing you want to rent, and in which neighborhoods. Once the search results come up, you can then order by price or most recent listings, and filter by number of rooms (ambientes) or bedrooms (dormitorios) etc, to help find the type of apartment you are looking for.

However, this method really only works well if you are in Argentina. The usual process is to buy Clarín (or search their website every day), find a list apartments you like the sound of, and then turn up at the address and viewing time detailed (sometimes waiting in line on the street!) for each one. If you are currently in another country, you really only have two options, and both involving getting on a plane and coming down here:

  • Either come to Buenos Aires on a “pre-visit”, staying in a furnished vacation apartment and spending each day checking Clarín and looking for places to rent, then renting somewhere ready for when you make the real move, or;
  • Go full steam ahead and make the permanent move right away, staying in a vacation apartment until you find your long-term rental.

Additional Apartment Search Resources

There is of course a “third-way”. which is to look to rent a room in someone’s apartment, rather than one to yourself. This is a lot easier, but obviously not for everyone. Probably the best places to look for this kind of thing, are Craigslist Buenos Aires and CompartoDepto. And some other useful website resources for your apartment search are as follows:

Final Buenos Aires Apartment Rental Hints and Tips

Find an Argentine friend to help you out with the whole Buenos Aires apartment search process. Having a native around will not only help with the potential language barrier and aid with understanding the local process and customs, but also in any kind of transaction here having a local on your side opens up a lot more doors, plus they can be on the watch for any potential scams etc (although in that case, you’ll obviously also need to trust that your Argentine friend is on the level too).

The importance of local help cannot be stressed enough – so do your best to make some contacts here as quickly as possible. If you can’t find a suitable Argentine, then perhaps a long-term expat or immigrant will be able to help you out.

Also, another good tip is to try to look for properties that are being advertised for rent by the owners themselves, and NOT by one of the Inmobiliarias (real estate/rental agents), as these big agencies will not only likely be more expensive, but more importantly, they will almost certainly not be reasonable with people that don’t have the magic garantia. Meanwhile, owners will probably be open to discussion, especially if you have that local contact to bargain with them, and can offer some kind of extra financial incentive, as previously mentioned.

Good luck getting a BA apartment like one of these!

The best of luck to anyone looking for long term apartment rentals in Buenos Aires. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below. The idea is that other readers in the Buenos Aires community who have experience in this area pass that on by helping out where possible with any questions asked.

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